Moving towards a future of peat-free products

February 18, 2019

Cheap, usually imported, bags of peat do not reflect the environmental costs to society caused by peat mining and are undercutting the production and supply of peat-free materials. Advances in the development of peat-free horticultural products, means that the UK could establish its own long-term viable industry providing sustainable soil conditioners and growing materials for amateur and professional gardeners

Many peat-free composts work as effectively or even better than peat. Much of the material used for peat replacement contributes to recycling, such as green compost, or uses by-products including wood brash and other forestry waste. Commercially grown and harvested Sphagnum moss is also proving popular with the professional horticulture industry.

At an International Peat Society Summit in Rotterdam in 2018 there was recognition that International policy is moving increasingly towards more sustainable products, through ecolabelling and demands on producers to bear the environmental costs of their activities.  Supporting a speedy switch to peat-free products would help meet the environmentally responsible demands of society. It would also enable the UK to take a lead in supplying these sustainable materials rather than becoming dependent on imports.

A roundtable event held in Edinburgh including retailers and horticulture producers highlighted that there are already a number of manufacturers of peat-free soil conditioners and growing media in the UK. Given the right market signals and investment in this new industry by Government and with retailers support it will be possible to facilitate a shift away from peat and provide new opportunities for expanding employment.  

Ending the horticultural use of peat is important to help protect rare wildlife habitat and reduce carbon emissions but is also essential to placing the UK’s gardening retail and horticulture industry on a secure long-term basis.  Supporting the businesses that are developing the peat-free products is not just the responsibility of Government Environment Departments but also Trade and Industry and Climate Change.

Top: Irish Peatland © Clifton Bain (left), Westland Gro-Sure Peat Free All Purpose Compost (right)

Bottom: Ireland peat cutting © Clifton Bain

 

 

Cors Caron Copywrite Drew Buckley Photography
Conference 2022 - Registration openRegistration for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference taking place live in Aberystwyth…
Mar Estate © Mark Nicolson
100 Project Milestone for the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code now has 100 projects registered under the UK La
Peatland Code version 1.2
New version of the Peatland Code launchedAn update to the Peatland Code, including a separate guidance document, is now available.
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022
IUCN UK Peatland Programme Newsletter: Winter Edition 2022Read the latest IUCN UK Peatland Programme newsletter.
Peat-free image
Peat-free Horticulture – A reality and an opportunityWe have reached a key moment for bringing about a transition in the way we garden and supply…
PC Projects Feb 22
An update on the Peatland CodeThe Peatland Code continues to grow rapidly with 79 projects now registered and 10,300 ha of…
The new CNPA Peatland ACTION team
Unlocking contractor capacity to lock up carbon in the CairngormsThe Cairngorms National Park Authority’s (CNPA) Peatland ACTION Officers have facilitated over 2,…
Moors for the Future Partnership: Cleaner water video
Moors for the Future Partnership presents: Blanket bogs are worth protecting video seriesMoors for the Future Partnership has developed five videos to help people understand the multiple…
Restoration works at East Gill in Nidderdale
Yorkshire Peat Partnership celebrates another successful yearAs Yorkshire Peat Partnership (YPP) heads into the new restoration season, they take a moment to…
The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland: World Wetlands Day
World Wetlands Day 2022: 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' launched as e-bookTo celebrate World Wetlands Day 2022, 'The Peatlands of Britain and Ireland' by the IUCN UK…
South West Peatland Partnership vacancies
South West Peatland Partnership job vacanciesThe South West Peatland Partnership (Exeter, Devon) have 8 job vacancies available to support their…